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Comment Re:Survey bias (Score 5, Interesting) 125

benign forms of cancer

No there are not. And yes I am a doctor. Cancer is by definition NOT benign. Now you may be referring to less aggressive cancers and yes there are plenty of those. Basal cell carcinoma for example. Some prostate cancers. Cervical cancers. All of those are very slow in the growing and spreading. However thyroid cancers, due to their location, are obvious pretty quickly. People tend to wonder about that lump sticking out of their throat.

Still all of that is besides the point. When autopsies are performed, any cancers are noted even when the patient dies of unrelated conditions. For example almost ALL men over age 80 and ALL men above 90 have prostate cancer, although most of them die from something else. So yes you're right in that cancer can go undetected. But you are wrong in thinking we don't know exactly what the "normal" amount of cancer is in a population.

Comment Is this a good idea? (Score 1) 184

Animal behavior teaches us the importance of bluffing and looking bigger, meaner or scarier than you actually are. While there's no reason to assume that xenobiology would be the same, there's no reason to assume it would be different either. Leaving aside the question of whether it's a good idea to even attempt communication at all - could a simple, easy to understand message be interpreted as weakness?

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin